Police detectives in Bulawayo swooped in on a house in Northend suburb on Thursday, where they found equipment believed to be used in manufacturing counterfeit money.
This after an 18-year-old woman identified as Chantelle Sibalwa was arrested while trying to buy a take away meal at a Chicken Inn outlet along Fort Street using a fake US$100 note.
Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube confirmed the incident.
“We confirm that we investigated a case where fake money was used, some arrests were made including the recovery of the computer that was used to print the fake money,” he said.
According to an internal police memo seen by CITE, Sibalwa went to the fast food outlet with the intention of buying a Two Piecer meal.
She gave the cashier a US$100 note who discovered that the note was fake and she alerted her supervisor.
“Upon payment the cashier by the name Sanelisiwe Mhlanga realised that the note was fake. She quickly notified her shift manager, Nyarai who in turn alerted PA Mgcini Moyo who was on Roving. The accused was detained by PA Mgcini.
P/Sgt Major Nsimba was called and during the initial stages of questioning the accused, Area Controller J. Dube and P/Insp. I. Simbini arrived, and the three grilled the accused with questions left, right and centre,” reads the memo.
Sibalwa was later taken to the Bulawayo Central police station and a team of police officers was sent to her home to conduct a search.
“On arrival, the accused produced from under the mattress, a bunch of fake notes in the following denominations; 12 × US$100-00, 4 × US$50-00, 11 × US$10-00, 13 × US$5-00 and 17 × R100-00. The total amount of fake notes recovered was US$2265-00 and R1 700-00.
“Also recovered was items used in manufacturing the fake notes, an HP Diskjet printer Serial number CN442175TZ, bond paper, rulers and razor blades. The accused, Chantelle, further revealed that his boyfriend’s young brother, by the name Onesmus Zimunya, was also involved. The accused led the investigating team, to Onesmus’ place, and when he was searched by the police, they found a fake US$10 in his pockets and he was also arrested.”
Zimunya was immediately arrested.
Inspector Ncube said the fake notes could have found a ready market among illegal foreign currency dealers.
“We urge members of the public to be wary of those illicit deals particularly we are worried about illegal foreign currency dealings, that money could have found its way through those channels and illegal foreign currency dealers are likely to be the market for that,” he said.